Indie vs. Traditional Publishing, and Technology

I put a lot of thought into whether I wanted to be Indie published or traditionally published. Indie publishing gives you complete control, but traditional publishing adds a layer of respectability. Here’s how I made my decision, and the resulting issue I now have.

First, I received a letter from a well-known traditional publisher, wanting to publish a manuscript I’d submitted (for a story I have yet to publish). This publisher, while gushing in a very flattering way about my writing, wanted me to make changes. They wanted one character completely deleted from the story because ‘gay people don’t live in tiny towns’. (I know, I still laugh over that foolishness, too.) They also wanted me to remove all swear words from one character. I refused publication because I couldn’t do that to the characters.

Second, I spied on my friend, author Susan Schreyer. I saw how she had complete control over every aspect of her books through indie publishing. There are good and bad sides to that but it’s not the focus of this post. I liked the idea of control. I liked the idea of my characters allowed to be who they wanted to be.

Obviously I chose the indie route.

But here’s the aspect I didn’t consider – technology in this day and age.

To be successful as a published author you have to be ‘out there’. Platforms through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, your own website, etc. You have to be visible and accessible. That’s very difficult for me personally as I choose to live in that very little town with gay people because I like privacy. I try to balance my desire for privacy personally, with the need to be very public, professionally.

However, my real beef with the social media and technology aspect is the assumption by most that everyone has access. The assumption that every person out there can afford high-speed internet, smart phones, computers, iPads, and on and on.

How does that make one feel, who can’t afford those toys? And when did those toys become so immersed in our society that they are taken for granted and no longer ‘toys’ but ‘essentials’?

Yes, I am entertained by Facebook, although I dislike the amount of writing time it steals from me (I blame Facebook).

Social platforms would be required no matter which method of publishing chosen because traditional publishers don’t do the marketing like they used to for new authors. I’m not sure if the level of being ‘out there’ is the same. And we as a society would miss out on some amazing books, music, art, etc. if there was no indie route along the internet road.

But there are times when I wish I could shut the door.

And even more times when I wish people didn’t assume that everyone was on the same level of connectivity. I actually find that assumption to be, in a small way, prejudice. How difficult life must be now for those who cannot afford, or who don’t understand, all the toys.

And now I’m going to post this publicly, across all social platforms. What a conundrum.

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